How your law firm adopts new legal technology may be just as important as what software your firm chooses to implement.
If your firm wasn’t motivated before, the pandemic proved that thriving in the 21st century requires improving your firm’s technological sophistication. In a recent survey, 8 out of 10 lawyers said the pandemic created an increased need for technology solutions, with 63% of law firms planning to increase their technology investment (up from 60% in 2020). At the same time, 82% of CIOs say the pandemic created a need to implement new technologies, IT strategies, or methodologies, and nearly half (49%) expect their IT budgets to increase over the next 12 months, according to the IDG 2021 State of the CIO report.
Yet, purchasing new law firm technology is merely the first step. Achieving successful software adoption rates relies heavily on effectively communicating your new software’s purpose, use, and design. The tools and tactics you use to communicate can significantly affect your partners, associates, and staff members’ attitudes to the new software and how enthusiastically they adopt its use. The following tips can help you start the conversation on the right foot.
Communicate law firm technology change with specificity and clarity.
Some people may initially react to the news as if you’re pulling the rug out from under their feet. Allay their fears by assuring them that securing new legal technology doesn’t mean every firm process will change. Explain the following:
What is the purpose of the new legal technology?
Describe the manual activities the software can automate, discussing how it performs each step as it accomplishes tasks. Show how data flows into and out of the tool as the software interacts with existing firm systems, processes, and people. Help them visualize newly digitized workflows.
Why did the firm choose this specific software (or feature)?
Will it solve a pressing issue? Prevent a problem from developing? Both? Why can’t the firm maintain the status quo, and why weren’t alternate solutions chosen? Give a brief tour of the purchasing decision. When people see the wisdom behind selecting a particular software, it helps quell the tendency to wonder whether the new software is essential or if a different tool might work better.
What does the firm expect for its use?
Explain, with specificity, how the firm expects legal professionals and administrative and leadership teams to use the new technology. When will they use it, and what tasks will they accomplish? If applicable, share why the availability of various features and functions may depend on firm roles.
What are the benefits of this new law firm technology?
Last but certainly not least, talk about the benefits that users and the firm can expect. The fun part is when you see people’s faces light up as they discover how much easier and more effective their work will be. Point out how much time and effort they can reclaim as software automates tedious manual activities and show how they’ll discover fresh insights through newly available data.
Educate your firm’s champions of change first.
Begin your initial dialogue with individuals you expect will champion the use of new technology. Look for well-respected leaders in each department who have the patience to answer questions and who will not let new user frustrations dampen their enthusiasm.
Educate your champions of change first. Show these eager advocates how the software works and the benefits of adoption, taking advantage of any “train the trainer” opportunities your technology provider offers. In the days before the official software rollout, urge your champions to express excitement to partners, associates, and staff. Encourage them to discuss upcoming changes and the resulting benefits in detail.
During and after rollout, give your champions the time and freedom to assist new users. For example, allowing training time to count toward their billable hours goal frees champions to explain a process thoroughly and educate someone struggling with the software—versus hurriedly dashing over to someone’s desk, pushing a button for them, and running off because they are racing against the clock.
Offer law firm technology information through a variety of channels.
Effectively communicating upcoming legal technology change isn’t a one-and-done event. Inform lawyers and staff well in advance that the firm is adopting new software and schedule multiple learning opportunities in the weeks before and during rollout.
To accommodate multiple learning styles, provide learning materials in a variety of engaging formats such as:
- Create role-based or task-specific training videos that demonstrate real-world use of the software.
- Provide PowerPoint presentations with visual representations of how to complete tasks.
- Host intermittent live Q&A sessions. Offer recorded Q&A sessions with time-stamped indicators so people can fast-forward to the answers they need.
- Create and regularly update a helpful FAQ document or web page.
Make sure everyone knows these materials exist and where to access them. Your software provider may be able to provide valuable materials or help you develop firm-specific content.
If you’re ready to start or optimize your law firm’s legal technology journey, planning your communication strategies can help ensure that everyone in your firm comes along for the ride. Schedule your demo now, and our specialized legal technology team will show you how.